When it comes to car ownership, everyone seems to have a theory. Some people like to trade out cars every 25,000 miles; others hang on to their vehicle for 10 or 15 years.
But is there a best time to sell your current vehicle and purchase a new one?
Five Primary Factors for Consideration
To be honest, there’s no clear-cut answer for the best time to sell your car. Several basic factors can be weighed, however, to determine what might be the appropriate timing in each case. Let’s discuss a few of them briefly.
Mileage is one of the critical factors. Not only do buyers look at the total mileage on the vehicle when they shop, but the potential cost of maintenance also tends to rise as a vehicle undergoes more wear and tear.
“Toyotas frequently appear near the top of reliability lists, with average maintenance costs for the first 75,000 miles hovering around $4,300. After 150,000 miles, though, that cost more than doubles, reaching over $11,000 in average repairs,” JunkACar.com explains.
“And while that may seem high, the upkeep costs of Asian car brands are relatively low when compared with the average repair and maintenance costs of their American or European counterparts.”
Do the necessary research to determine the major mileage thresholds for whatever model is involved in your situation. This will help you make a smart selling decision.
- Time of Year
This surprises some people, but the time of year may matter in some cases. Consider the following:
- Convertibles and sports cars sell better in the spring and summer when people are excited about spending time outdoors.
- Trucks and sports utility vehicles — especially those with 4×4 — sell better in the fall and winter when road conditions become more challenging.
- Although commuter vehicles and fuel-efficient sedans sell well year round, you might enjoy a slight premium if you sell in the dead of winter or height of summer. At those points, people are less likely to walk or take public transportation.
You’re not likely to get a huge hike in value by choosing to sell in one month over the previous one, but you might be able to net a few more hundred. So, at the very least, it’s something to think about.
- Special Events and Holidays
At certain times of the year, people are more likely to buy a vehicle than at others. These high points will align with special events and holidays such as tax rebate season, high school or college graduation, or Christmas.
- The Economy
How’s the economy doing? When it’s doing well and gas prices are low, you’re apt to get more for your expensive, gas-guzzling SUV or truck.
When the economy dips and gas prices climb, your eco-friendly hybrid vehicle will start looking a lot more attractive. Keep an eye on trends like these and plan accordingly.
- The condition of the Car
Finally, you should evaluate the condition of the car. For example, say you’ve driven the vehicle for five years and put nearly 100,000 miles on it without any serious problems or issues.
Instead of assuming you have the most reliable car in the world, you might accept that you’ve been lucky up to now. Selling right away, before any breakdowns occur, may save you a lot of money.
Do Your Research
When it comes time to sell your vehicle, you should make sure you’re getting the best possible price. Run the numbers on Kelley Blue Book, get a couple of offers from local car lots and dealerships, and survey what else is out there.
When you’re ready to purchase your new car, give some thought to its potential resale value. This might not seem terribly important now, but you’ll be thankful you covered it when it comes time to sell down the road.
According to Kelley Blue Book, the best resale values in the 2018 class of vehicles include Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Tundra, Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Wrangler, GMC Sierra, and Chevrolet Silverado.
Most shoppers chase rebates and dealer incentives when perhaps they should give greater weight to future resale value. A vehicle that retains 50 percent of value after 60 months (compared with the average of 33 percent) is worth a whole lot more than an extra $1,000 cash back.
Keep that in mind and you’ll make a decision that takes all factors into account.